Tag Archive for: COVID dating

Commitment & The End of Hookup Culture


🚨 This is not a drill! 🚨 If you’re looking for commitment, now is the time to dive into COVID Dating!

This new episode of Dates & Mates is HUGE! Damona gets the inside scoop on the latest and greatest study on the future of sex, relationships, and COVID dating right from the source.

This year, Cosmopolitan and Esquire co-sponsored a study with The Kinsey Institute to closely examine American’s attitudes on dating and sex at this stage in the COVID.

The findings were… completely unexpected, to say the least.

We scored an interview with the editors-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and Esquire, Jessica Pels and Michael Sebastian, and they get real about today’s love landscape.

But first we have headlines:


(2:38) How to date post-pandemic without going broke 

A recent study by Bankrate.com found that dating costs around $160 per month. Damona shares some great tips on how to make dating more affordable that involves quite a bit of creativity. 


(6:48) The mistakes that older men (read: EVERYONE) make on dating apps 

According to InsideHook, older men tend to commit these dating app faux pas: 

  1. Bad Selfies
  2. Pet names
  3. Not having enough photos
  4. Dissing Astrology (????)

But LISTEN: Damona sees everyone make these mistakes pretty regularly and she explains how to fix them.



In partnership with the Kensey Institute, Cosmopolitan and Esquire did an indepth study to learn more about how people feel and have behaved during the past year with the pandemic literally dominating every part of our lives especially when it comes to dating and sex. 

(17:00) Expectation: The divorce rate will skyrocket asap as we saw in Wuhan.

Reality: American couples actually feel closer and are more satisfied sexually than they were ever before. 

Does the current behavior in Wuhan like increased divorces and hookup culture reflect what American couples feel now? The research shows that the majority of couples are happier than they have been, and more men are more affectionate towards their partners. 

(21:14) Jessica and Michael address the realities of infidelity during the pandemic. Have some men juggled having a secret second family while in lockdown? Plus, having sex while much of the population is still not vaccinated is a health risk. Could cautious dating lead to the end of the one-night stand? 

(26:00) Expectation: People are going to have to re-learn dating habits and social skills as soon as we can go outside again.

Reality: According to Hinge, many users took this time to become better at dating – making an effort to stop ghosting, to make more intentional connections, to stop playing games, etc. 

(30:05) Feeling lonely during the pandemic has made some people feel nostalgic about their past loves leading them to reach out to ex’s during this time. Mercury in retrograde could have something to due with these feelings of longer for the past. 

Expectation: People CAN’T WAIT to party like it’s 1999.

(30:00) Reality: Surprisingly, the New Sexual Revolution begins now. The pandemic taught most people that they can go a year without getting laid… and it might not be the end of the world. 

(34:17) Jessica and Michael share their predictions on the future of dating and how satisfied people will be going forward this year. 


Read on Cosmo Here

Read on Esquire Here



Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • (Jane): My question is about keeping the conversation flowing in dating apps. I’m a straight female who doesn’t mind initiating conversations on dating apps (Bumble is actually my preferred app), but I’m finding that more so than usual, guys aren’t asking questions. I’d say there is interest because they respond to my messages (sometimes at length), but there’s no “how about you?” or some sort of question to get to know me better… this is okay (though not ideal) for one or two exchanges, but after that, it feels like 1) I’m doing all the work and 2) the guy isn’t curious enough to ask more about me (which I read as, he’s not dating with intention and possibly just bored and trying to pass the time)… so I let the conversation fizzle. I initially said that I’m experiencing this more than usual and I’m sure the pandemic has something to do with it (people are lonely!), but am I wrong to move on if someone isn’t asking me questions? I know some people are better conversationalists than others, or better on text/messaging, but you’ve gotta give me something more than answering questions about yourself and not asking things about me in return… right? Because ultimately, these “conversations” feel like I know more about someone, but they don’t know any more about me and that doesn’t seem like a foundation to move forward to a first date
  • (Chris): Hi Guys. I’m Chris, and my question is what are some good opening lines to use on dating apps? 
  • (L): I hate that dating apps don’t give me a good sense of who people are, and I’m really tired of meeting people through the apps. As things are opening up (pandemic), I’d love to know how I can meet people right now off-line. 



The app solves many major challenges that Damona’s clients face in dating today:

  • You can keep your main number private
  • You can separate your personal and dating contacts
  • Plus, It’s easy to use and FREE.

We are proud to collaborate with an app that empowers modern daters to feel safe and secure. If you want more information, check out Damona’s video on when to give out your number to people you meet on dating apps. Click here!




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Damona  0:09  

 It’s demona, your certified dating coach and the host of dates and mates, which is now presented by text. Now, the app that gives you a free second phone number for dating, which I sure wish I had back when I was single, you know, all those guys that you’re matching with that you give your number out to, and then you don’t actually want to see them. Again, it’s no big deal with text. Now, you can just change your dating phone number, but keep your primary number for all your other business. I’ve said on this podcast before that dating in the last few months has been less predictable than ever before. And as a dating coach in the before COVID times, I could predict exactly the timeline for a relationship. Like seriously, I could tell you when someone would be ready to move in, or when the relationship just wasn’t going to work out when you would meet the parents all of that. But obviously, obviously, right now things are changing and evolving. And there’s a lot of conjecture in the dating community about the future of dating and the future of sex as we move forward, and hopefully out of this pandemic very soon. But to help us understand the state of the date today, and peek into the future of sex, my friends at Cosmopolitan magazine and Esquire magazine have published a study in collaboration with the Kinsey Institute. And here on the show, I will have the editor in chief of Esquire, Michael Sebastian, and the editor in chief of Cosmo Jessica pals with me to break down all of this data and friends. As a fan of the mags. I am super excited for this show. But first, we have headlines, how to date post pandemic without going broke. And the biggest mistakes older men make on dating apps. And by older men. I mean, everybody. Plus my guests, Jessica and Michael will help me answer your questions in deer Dimona. Like how to keep the conversation flowing on dating apps. And what’s a good opening line when you’re sliding into those dmws. All that and more on today’s dates and mates. Now let’s dish these dating dish.

The folks@bankrate.com has shared some news with me on how dating gets expensive, but what you can do about it. Did you know that before the pandemic every person in the US spent about 168 bucks on dating every month? And if you ask me that is actually an underestimation when you really consider all of the costs of dating from getting your blowouts getting your nails did guys getting your your what what are you spending money on guys? Oh, you’re spending money on the dates? A lot of the times I get it? Yes. And I know having just had my anniversary dinner and seeing the bill that I pass right on over to my husband. I know that dating is not cheap. And I guess if there’s a silver lining on dating in the pandemic, it’s that, well, you’ve saved a lot of money, haven’t you from virtual dates that otherwise would have been coffee drinks, dinner, hopefully you’re not doing dinner on first dates. But now those have moved to virtual dates. So you’ve actually saved quite a lot, maybe even more than 168 bucks a month. And yet now as we are moving into the next phase of dating, you got to be thinking about how can I date again, without breaking the bank. May I remind you friends that there are many free or cheap dates that you can do that are actually pretty cute and romantic. You can go for a walk I live in LA you can go for a walk along the beach here summer and spring are coming. Maybe you have a nice lake or river near where you live. If you don’t live by the ocean. That’s always romantic. Of course, make sure it’s a public place where everybody room, people are going to see you. But you know that could be romantic. A picnic could be also romantic and also inexpensive. You could go for a bike ride a hike. Now as you’re able to do more things outdoors. Take advantage of that. You can cook together you can make your own wine tasting, go pick a couple of different bottles and do your own wine tasting or beer tasting. There’s so many ways that you can save money. You don’t have to go to an expensive restaurant. We’re not going to be going out to the expense of theater or even maybe movies probably for a little bit. So try to get creative on ways that you can save money. Another thing that bankrate suggested is split the bill. I don’t know why I’m sort of old fashioned about first dates. But I think beyond that, I’m probably going to change my mind on that eventually, you could probably talk me into it. But I know a lot more people are going Dutch on dates. And especially once you’re in a relationship, you want it to be a partnership you want to contribute. So offer to split the date so that one person isn’t carrying the brunt of it. And you know, running up their credit card right after the pandemic, we just got those checks, we just got that stimulus, you can’t be spending it all on dates right away. And then another great tip from bank rate was budget for dates. I think this is a genius idea. I never thought of it before. But I actually was going through some old papers A while ago, and I found a budget that I did for our honeymoon. Like I actually budgeted, we’re gonna spend, you know, 100 bucks on meals, and then the hotel in this place. And, you know, I was a TV exactly the time I was doing all right, I didn’t, I didn’t have a problem with money. But I didn’t want to overspend my money or spend it unnecessarily. Because I had just bought a house. And I was trying to save up for a lot of things like having a kid and other things that are very expensive. So think about how much do you actually spend on dates. And maybe if you have spent a lot on going out dates, or having drinks with people, which can really add up very quickly, then maybe it’s a good time for you to plan some other dates so that you can hit your budget numbers. And we can collectively get into the black and out of the red. Oh, older men, you’ve been making some mistakes on dating apps, according to inside hook.com. The interesting thing is, as I read this article, I was like, yeah, these are issues that older men might have. They say lying about your age, the selfies, misuse of emojis. But you know what, these are actually problems that I’ve heard from everybody, regardless of gender, regardless of age. So let me take you through a few of these, because I think everybody can learn from these lying about your age. People ask me this all the time. And I just I’m never going to tell you what you should do. But I’m going to ask the questions that make you realize what you need to do to be in alignment with your values. Do you want to lie about your age and then hit it off with someone and ultimately have to disclose to them down the road? That you built your relationship on a lie? If the answer to that is no, then you should be authentic about your age on the dating app. And yes, it’s very true that there are certain brackets that people search within either related to their age, or related to like 35 to 4040 to 4545 to 50 that you may need to overcome in being broader in your searches. But I’ve said this on the show before, if you are attracted to someone, regardless of age, studies have shown that you will respond to them even if it’s not an age match, or you’re outside of the age range that that that person is searching within. So you need to be a little bit more proactive, to make sure that you’re showing up to the people that you want to meet. Another mistake selfies. On inside hook. They say selfies should not be on dating apps. I do not agree with this statement. I think selfies actually are the norm on dating apps now. Yet in his article, it says older men specifically are notoriously bad at taking them because they try to live their Instagram selfie life. But I think there is an art to taking a great selfie. And I highly recommend especially coming out of a time of quarantine where many people don’t have someone else that can take a photo of them. You better get your selfie game right you better get yourself a tripod and a remote that you can take photos with and figure out your angles. This is this is a key skill in dating today. And you can say that sounds like a lot of work Dimona. I don’t want to do that and that’s fine. But I don’t want to hear from you three months from now why is everybody out here dating? I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to learn how to take us good selfie. And now everybody else is getting dates and I’m not so listen up to that. Also Listen up using weird pet names according to inside hook. not cute on dating apps. I would agree with this like the Hey gorgeous Hey beautiful. Hey baby. They referenced this in the article as it may seem like it’s flattery to you but it actually comes off as a little bit creepy. If you don’t know somebody don’t call them a pet name just out of the gate. You got to work up to be Baby honey, sweetie, okay, not having enough photos. How many photos Do you need her dating profile, pop quiz four to five. That’s it. More than that, and it’s your it’s your Instagram feed less than that and your catfish and I don’t even know who you are. So another thing dissing astrology, it’s funny, we were gonna cover this on the show a few weeks ago. But you know, I don’t want you guys to think I’m too weird because I’ve been into astrology and Tarot and all this stuff, since I was like 10 years old. But astrology now is, is very hot on the dating apps. And I will leave it at that you can check out inside hook comm which we will link to in the show notes along with our other story from bankrate.com. If you want to learn more about how to have a great profile if you want to learn more about the mistakes that older men are making on dating apps, and if you want a little TLC for your dating app, I’m actually going to be doing a live workshop with Los Angeles Community College anybody can take it anywhere in the world taking place on April 22 at 6pm Pacific and we will go through all of the must dues and the no no’s. And we will work shop your dating profile so that you can get ready for your spring fling love season and have the profile it’s going to attract the right kind of dates to you. When we come back, we will have Jessica pals editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and Michael Sebastian, editor in chief of Esquire talking about the future of sex. Stay tuned.

I am here with two very special guests. Jessica Pels editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and Michael Sebastian, editor in chief of Esquire they are here to talk about the latest study that Cosmo and Esquire have co sponsored along with the Kinsey Institute, one of the top names in the science of dating and relationships. And there are so many juicy details in this study that I can’t wait to share with you. So please give big smooches to Jessica pals and Michael Sebastian.


Unknown Speaker  12:06  

It’s my pleasure. It’s our pleasure. Yeah, thank you for having us.


Damona  12:10  

Well, since we’re talking about pleasure, we’re talking about the future of sex. And this is just so timely and so relevant. I know you did this study in conjunction with the Kinsey Institute, correct?


Unknown Speaker  12:25  

That’s right.


Damona  12:25  

So tell me about how how this study came to be and how you developed this this survey?


Unknown Speaker  12:32  

Sure, just you want to take that? Or what do you think


Unknown Speaker  12:36  

you have a lovely way of talking about it. So I think you should you should go for Oh,


Unknown Speaker  12:39  

all right. Um, okay. So, you know, sex and dating and relationships in the last year have been fraught, I guess, would probably be a very simple way of putting it. And, you know, I think the thing is, is that my guy friends and I who are all kind of have the same. You know, we have wives, families, that kind of thing. And I know that there is some weird stuff going on. And yet, we don’t talk about it, right, guys don’t talk about that stuff. We talk about everything, but that and you know, and sometimes I feel like even though we’re talking about a music recommendation, or, you know, sports or something like that, that maybe we’re actually talking about our relationships or something like that. And so what I was really wanting to do was I wanted to find out what’s really going on so that for a lot of these guys that we appeal to at Esquire are really just friends of mine are really just for my own edification, we would know. And so we started talking to our pals at Cosmo. And you know, they are the experts in this. So we thought like, Why Why wouldn’t we pair up with them? And and then they got us together with the Kinsey Institute. And then we started asking all these questions. And that was really the impetus behind it all, at least for Esquire,


Unknown Speaker  13:58  

we wanted to bring together you know, iconic brands in this space. And, you know, Cosmo is so known for speaking to the the woman’s experience of sex and dating and relationships, Esquire, same for men. And then of course, the kids, the famed Kinsey Institute, it just seems like the three of us could put our heads together, gather some original data, and really put together a sort of definitive look at what’s coming down the pike. And, you know, the other thing is that I, as Michael was thinking about, you know, his situation and, and what, you know, married couples maybe aren’t talking about right now. My team and I were talking about COVID in terms of like, Oh, it’s gonna be a bloodbath of breakups, because, you know, every couple that’s not madly in love is just going to get to a breaking point with this. And we also thought that at the end of COVID, it would just be a totally wild free for all. singles just out there having one night stands every single night. And so we we have these hunches, and we wanted to see whether they were accurate. And turns out, they were not, which we’re actually thrilled by, because surprising data is our favorite thing. So. So that’s how we got here. All right, let’s


Damona  15:20  

dig into the data then just because I actually, I’ll admit, listeners of the show know, I kind of predicted the same thing, like just based on what was happening. Also in Wuhan. Like I say, they’re like the ghost of Christmas future. Their divorces were way up after the first lockdown. And I was like, that’s gonna happen here. And it didn’t, it didn’t happen here. And it has yet I’m not sure if it’s coming. And I want to know what you see in the survey. And also, like their party in there, like it’s 1999, or some time in the 2000s. And they are, they’re definitely, I would say, from what I’m seeing hookup culture is a little bit more, more back. But yeah, you’re you’re looking at an American audience, which is, you know, most of our listeners are in the US. What are you seeing both on both of those fronts?


Unknown Speaker  16:13  

Yeah, so So interestingly about about couples who have been together during quarantine, what our data found very definitively is that those people are happier than they were before they feel closer to their partner, they’re more satisfied sexually with their partner than they were before. So generally, couples got, you know, happier than they have been. And that was like, really sweet to see. And Esquire pointed out this data point in the survey, which is that 69% of men say that they’re more at, they feel more affectionate towards their partners now than they did before the beginning of COVID, which is just sweet, warm and fuzzy thing to hear. And actually, you know, there were, there were respondents on our survey who admitted to fantasizing about leaving their partners, but only 2% of them plan to actually make a change. So I actually don’t think we’re going to see a ton of divorces or breakups in the wake of all this.


Damona  17:15  

Hmm, I’m really curious to hear from from the Esquire perspective from from the man’s lens. Why do you think it is that men are feeling more affectionate now?


Unknown Speaker  17:28  

Great question. So I that that was something that I was surprised, but heartened to see that, that that stat that that just pointed out in the fact that, you know, these relationships seem to be getting deeper, I suppose. And, you know, there’s, there’s so much kind of anecdotal evidence that we came upon. I mean, you know, I think it’s something that at some point, in this whole thing, right, when you’re with your partner, is that you kind of need to decide, am I committing to this? And are we are we doing this? Or is are we going to kind of go our separate ways, you know, whether we’re actually going to leave each other, or whether we’re just going to kind of, you know, exist in different spheres or something like that. And I think that what we saw is that there was the vast majority of people said, we’re in this, we’re going to do this. And I think that once they people kind of got over maybe that initial hump of, you know, I think, as we put it, like getting over the little quirks that you hear your partner, say, on zoom calls, and so on, is that we kind of got to that deeper level of affection. And of course, you know, there’s this idea that, like, you’re cooped up with somebody, right, so when it comes to this kind of your, your sex life is that, you know, you you might as well, I guess begin to explore right, you know, explore each other, I guess, for lack of a lack of a better term. And I think that another thing, too, that’s important is that this took this pandemic for a couple of sets taken, especially couples with kids, it’s taken a real partnership to get through. And a lot of that, you know, I know that it certainly a lot of that has fallen on on, you know, wives or women in relationships to especially ones that have kids. And what I think was, it’s been good to see again, and this is this is kind of speaking beyond the the survey is just the fact that a lot of men have really sort of dug in and begin supporting their partners and their families in ways that they hadn’t before. And I think that that is something that I mean, if that can continue beyond beyond this pandemic, that that’s going to make those relationships all the more richer. I mean, I know, you know, just speaking personally, there, there was something that before this pandemic, my wife and I both worked, and we have two kids, and our lives are going in a million different directions. And when we had arguments, the argument, you know, it might be about something stupid or silly, but it was always actually about division of labor. It was always about, you know, my wife, you know, my wife’s name is Sally, Sally saying something like, you know, she, she spends uses so much for brain space thinking about, you know, who’s taking who’s picking up this kid and what are we going to buy this kid for birthday, and so on. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there going, why can’t you recognize all the things that I do, I’m way more responsible than my dad was. And, and yet now, because we’ve been together, and we’ve had to do all this juggling and everything else, it’s like, I see her plight so much better as a result of this. And I hope that we’re both better partners as a result.


Damona  20:19  

I love that,


Unknown Speaker  20:20  

I would just add that, you know, when it comes to, you know why men might feel more affectionate towards their partners. To sort of spin off your point, Michael, it also seems like everyone, not just men, but everyone got really in touch against our wills got very in touch with fear and with, you know, despair and grief. And we all had to spiral down into that place. And, and I think a lot of us realized that a partner is a helpful, helpful way to feel safe or to feel a little bit better. And so in a way, I think that my perception of this is that men being more open about being emotionally needy. I think I hope that that is a trend that emerges from all of this as well. Hmm.


Damona  21:22  

It’s it’s a, it’s a flip to look at that as as a benefit, instead of as a deficit. And, you know, there was actually a study that we covered on the show a couple years ago that men who do the dishes and share in housework, get laid more. So this is just proof of that division of labor. But interestingly, there was something it’s not all rosy, right, there was something in this that caught my, my eye that in the in on the Esquire article, one in seven straight men did something they considered to be infidelity during the pandemic. And they did it IRL, which seems like super risky to me, it’s, I actually had a friend who got their whole family got COVID. And I was talking to another friend about it. And I was like, they have no idea how they got it. And she was like, Hmm, I think people been doing things and they’re not talking about what they’re doing. Is that what’s happening? I mean, one in seven is not a huge number, but it’s, it’s enough to count.


Unknown Speaker  22:27  

This is not going to answer your question at all. But there is there is there is a group of very small, specific group of people that I thought about during this study, which is the people who have secret second families, what have they been doing during this life? The whole like, I’m just gonna pop out for something or we got a whole hell of a lot more difficult for them. Like that’s, that’s a story that I want to tell right there. He’s like, what about the person who has a second family? Yeah, the one in seven to me, I mean, that, that that number could have been anything. And it would have been shocking to me because of the difficulty of doing that in real life. Right. Right. And so I’m not sure that that that it’s a volume number to me is it’s just like, holy shit. This is actually happening.


Damona  23:10  

Yeah, it’s, it’s surprising to me, it seems like a risk. It seems like a double risk. But I did think about the people with two families like, well, I guess that’s not gonna be.


Unknown Speaker  23:24  

Your to your point about risk, though. I mean, that’s a COVID is adding a whole one. One of the things that our survey revealed is that COVID is adding a third layer of safety concern to sex. You know, the first is STI, the second is unwanted pregnancy. And now, the third is COVID. And our survey respondents were very upfront about the fact that a lot of them plan to ask out right before engaging in sexual activity if their new partner is vaccinated, or what their COVID status is, a lot of them plan to cancel dates more readily if they’re not feeling well, or if the other person isn’t feeling well. So there’s definitely a broad sort of COVID concern about sex in particular that that really is not surprising to come out of all this.


Damona  24:18  

Yeah. Well, let’s talk about dating for many of our listeners are single and are pretty much done. Dating during COVID. And, you know, a lot of the questions I would get before COVID were around this dating fatigue and ghosting and hookup culture. What did the survey show you just in terms of the changes to that that we can expect to see as things begin to open up?


Unknown Speaker  24:50  



Unknown Speaker  24:51  

luckily for for your listeners, it’s a lot of good news. Thank God. You know, we talked to in addition to conducting the survey Across the country, we also talked to a lot of experts to get a sense of what they were seeing and hearing on the ground. One of whom works at hinge. And one of my favorite stats from this, from this whole project is that half of, of hinge users said that they use this time to break bad habits. And to become better at dating. That means, you know, to stop ghosting, to feel to rush the connection to you know, play games, which is really nice. So, so hopefully, we’re coming out of COVID and into a better dating pool. And we’re definitely coming into a dating pool that is much more interested in commitment. That was the the, you know, really salient takeaway from all of this for me was that this is gonna be the commitment generation. And part of it is what we talked about earlier, which is, you know, emotional needs are much more at the surface for, you know, for people who have lived through this pandemic than for, for any of us beforehand. And so, people care more about commitment, they’re really seeking a committed relationship, they’re going to wait longer to meet someone in person. 70% of our survey respondents said they’re going to continue to do video dating before real life dating, even after COVID, which was fascinating to me, because, you know, zoom and FaceTime, it can all be kind of exhausting, but, but people really want to make sure that when they do risk their health, when they do step outside the house, that it’s worth it that’s for it’s for someone they feel like they have a connection with, and that it’s someone that they can see themselves, maybe you know, going going further with. And so really, in a way, this all felt like the death knell for the one nightstand. And our survey respondents, most of them outright said they’re no longer interested in that whole one nightstand life.


Damona  26:55  

That was very surprising to me. In the in the study, and I wonder how much of that is like, in theory right now, I’m not interested in the one nightstand, because I also saw, Michael, you might be able to comment on this. I also saw that 64% said they’re, they’re less interested in having more than one sexual partner at a time. But I I really wonder how much of that is just like, we’re still in it. Right. And you the survey was conducted at a time when we were really still locked down. And I don’t I don’t know, if if like six months in the future, if we’re going to feel the same way. You know, when we we got our summer groove on we’re trying to fling I don’t know, what do you think from from the, from your side of the of the table?


Unknown Speaker  27:48  

So it’s just to kind of echo what both of you said is that I was surprised by those findings as well. And I do think that there’s probably a little bit of what you talked about, which is that once we’re in, you know, the heat of the moment, that’s some of those calculations might change, I suppose. But I do think that, you know, there was there was something in the write up that we did, there was this turn of phrase that I really liked. That was basically, when we’re in a serious situation like this, we begin to make we kind of begin to really seriously look at our lives and make serious adjustments. And so it just it seems to me that this is not, this is extraordinary. This situation, this moment that we’re in is extraordinary. And it makes profound changes on people. And so I do think that even when people are out there again, yeah, of course, there’s going to be people who have too much to drink and are caught up in the moment. And you know, and have one nightstands and so on. And that’s great. And they should do that. Right. But I do think that for for most of these people that that those changes are just, you know, the thing that we need to accept is that we are different people from a year ago because of what we’ve experienced. And that is certainly going to be reflected in our dating lives and our love lives and so on.


Damona  29:01  

I appreciate your optimism on that.


Unknown Speaker  29:06  



Unknown Speaker  29:06  

A lot of the experts we talked to referred to this period of time as a reset, you know whether or not that was the intention, certainly not our collective intention going in that’s that’s the result that we got is that it was a reset. You know, it It showed us that we can go a year without getting laid and it’s not the end of the world. It it showed us what really matters to us. And it really does from from what we’re hearing and you know, of course that again, Michael, as you said in the heat of the moment that could change but from from what we’re hearing from people, it really sounds like one of the things that they got out of the pandemic is the realization that a one night stand type hookup existence was really more about getting some than it was about getting something good One of our experts talked about how hookup culture was has never really been built around doing the experience. Well, it’s just been about doing the experience. And that was, I think a really interesting thing to put together and think about in the process of all of this is that like, hookup culture has has really been more about checking off a box than it has been about having like, really fantastic sex. And that is a shift that I really think we are seeing as a result of everything that has changed.


Damona  30:33  

Absolutely. And if you are wanting to have very fantastic sex, go back to the database episode where we interviewed Taylor Andrews from cosmopolitan, who wrote a book on this very topic. But I digress. You also want to at I think this time also make some of us nostalgic for the past, not just like pre COVID. And like remember when we could go to restaurant be worried we were gonna catch a deadly disease, remember that, but also just like romanticizing the past past partners, and you also looked at contact that people had with their exes? What did you see in the survey? And were there certain people that were more more likely to be nostalgic about past loves?


Unknown Speaker  31:22  

One of the stats that jumped out at us was that lesbian women and bisexual men were the most likely to text next x during the pandemic 32% of them had said that,


Damona  31:32  

do you think there there is something in the pandemic mindset that is making people more likely to go back to past past loves? Or? I’m curious if that I mean, I know you didn’t do the study from before. But I’m curious if that might just be like what the number is normally.


Unknown Speaker  31:54  

Right? Right. I’m


Damona  31:56  

curious if if you’ve ever like looked into that before, or if there was any change in behavior, because of the pandemic that you saw.


Unknown Speaker  32:04  

I will say one thing that we joke about a lot here at Cosmo is about Mercury Retrograde, I work for an audience that is very into astrology. And one of the things that if you know anything about astrology, you know is that Mercury Retrograde is the time of your ex coming out of the woodwork, you know, sending you a you up text and just be prepared for that. So that’s that’s been very, very much a big part of young woman culture for for a while. So, you know, there were I think there were two retrogrades during COVID, maybe three or four and you know, it, I think it always up to its antics,


Damona  32:44  

it feels like one big retrograde honestly does


Unknown Speaker  32:49  

still have a connection that you’re trying to make is really interesting, though, about this, this nostalgia because everybody’s felt that right, everybody has been thinking about, you know, again, not just immediately pre pandemic, but like thinking about when they were in their 20s or teens or childhood or something like that. It’s just there’s something weird about pandemic time that does that, right. And this is not, this is not about contacting an ex, but we have so the issue that Esquire issue that this is in, it’s in, but it’s part of a broader package that we’re calling sex and other desires. And it’s, it’s the first time that Esquire has done one of these packages in a while. And I addressed this in my editor’s letter, because, you know, it’s something that we needed to think long and hard about, about how we wanted to address this topic. And so one of the stories in there is done by one of our editors, in which her and her husband, they’re both in their 30s they don’t have kids, but during the pandemic, they decided to read men are from Mars, women are from Venus, which turns 30 next year, and try to adopt tried to kind of like live based on that. And it’s a very funny piece. Because, you know, they’re very kind of both very progressive people. And yet they found themselves actually kind of enjoying, like, kind of digging some of the advice that was in there despite like not wanting to at all and so I think that that, you know, just this, this whole kind of general feeling of nostalgia is so it’s so thick, you can kind of reach out and touch it, you know?


Damona  34:13  

Yeah, I it’s funny, like you just made me feel really old. Third that came out 30 years ago. It’s interesting how like, we all think that we’re recreating the the reinventing the wheel, right? It’s like, No, no, relationships are so different right now. But like when you go back to earlier works like that, you realize that there are some universalities and and a lot like I started writing dating profiles 15 years ago, and while the technology has changed, and you know, the apps have changed, a lot of the core information is still the same. I think it’s really all about connection and people just really want to connect and the pandemic has given us a vehicle to be a To do that more effectively, and I’m really hopeful, I’m very hopeful, give me good news, just, I’m very hopeful that some of this will stick around, and that the next phase of dating and specifically, of online dating and dating apps will be more satisfying for people than it was even before the pandemic began. That’s,


Unknown Speaker  35:23  

that’s exactly what it feels like the results of all of this, say, and, and it’s very loud. And I think, you know, we may, we may feel like attitudes might change once the world is open again. But what gives me hope is that it’s it’s Americans who are saying, This is what they want. It’s not just them saying, This is what they are going to, you know, try to do. It’s them saying, No, I want commitment I want, you know, better quality, dating relationships, sexual relationships, you know, another takeaway from the survey for us was that there will be more sexual experimentation. But within the the sort of, within the safety of a relationship is, is how it seems like that’s going to play out for couples who have been quarantined together, they say that they have been experimenting more than they did before. Which makes a lot of sense, if you’re, you know, trapped in one place, and you need to keep things fresh, like what better time than a pandemic to figure out how to do that. And for singles, you know, there’s a, there’s definitely a desire to, to get out there and like, make up for lost time. But it seems very much like that will happen in contexts that feel more emotionally enriching. And honestly, you know, one of the things that I’ve been thinking about is, there’s so much about dating that feels really shitty, right? Like, there’s so much of the whole talking to a ton of people on the app, and then, you know, you meet a couple, and this one’s a total dud. And this one was an asshole. And like, you know, if you sleep with someone, and then he’s a jerk to you, the next morning, like, there’s a lot about the dating process that feels shitty, and that makes you feel like shit. And I think that’s especially true for women. And I think what we’re seeing is people’s rejection of that, like, part of it maybe is what what we’ve talked about this, you know, fragility sort of surfacing for all of us that we’re more conscientious about the fact that we have emotional needs. And maybe that means that we’re maxed out, like, I’m maxed out on feeling shitty, I will tell you that right now. And I don’t need, you know, the dating scene to make me feel worse. So I’m going to look out for me. And what that means is, you know, instead of one night stands, maybe it’s a three night stand with someone who I feel something with, and I care even just a little bit about


Damona  37:57  

that is a great way to look at it. And, and so much of it, I think is is our perception of it, too. Like if if you go in like, Oh, I have to go through this again, and I’m carrying this weight of it being shitty, then you probably will have a shitty experience of it. But if you go in with the intention of elevating your experience, then maybe we can elevate the experience for everyone else.


Unknown Speaker  38:19  

All right,


Damona  38:20  

we have questions from listeners. So I have loved this conversation, we’ll put the link to both the Cosmo and the Esquire analysis of this in the show notes. But I want to know what you have to say to our listener questions. So let’s tackle them right after this. Jess and Michael will take all of their knowledge as editors in chief of the hottest magazines on sex and relationships around to help me answer your questions.


Unknown Speaker  38:51  

damona help me


Damona  38:52  

Our first question comes to us from a listener named Jane. She says My question is about keeping the conversation flowing on dating apps during the pandemic. I’m a straight female who doesn’t mind initiating conversations on dating apps that I can tell she’s a listener of the show for her I’d say Yeah, exactly. I’d say there is interest because they respond to my messages. But there’s no How about you? I hear this a lot y’all. She says I it feels like one I’m doing all the work and to the guy isn’t curious enough to ask more about me. So I let the conversation feels fizzle? Am I wrong to move on? If someone isn’t asking me questions? Michael, I’m gonna go to you first. Because I know that like I hear this so much from the ladies. And just I know you’re gonna have something to say about this too.


Unknown Speaker  39:36  

I thought.


Damona  39:39  

Michael good. Give me Give me the men’s perspective. Because I feel a lot of women are like, I don’t want to do so much work in dating today. Why are guys so lazy?


Unknown Speaker  39:52  

Yeah, I know we really are we


Damona  39:55  

By the way, I do not think I do not think that but that’s the perception. I Heard?


Unknown Speaker  40:00  

So, I have a, I have a two part answer to that question. So the first is that I don’t think that a guy not sort of asking questions in the way that she that she sort of once necessarily means that he’s a selfish person or that He’s, uh, you know that he’s he’s not right for her and so on. I mean, I think that these, the communication platforms that we use can be tricky, right? So until you actually get in front of the person who knows. That’s part one. The second part is though, and this is going to contradict everything that I just said about that. But I do feel like if you can’t offer up a simple Hey, how are you, then that to me feels like a huge red flag. So maybe I’m just gonna go with the second part of my answer for that. Can we edit out that first part? And just know?


Damona  40:59  

I think it’s all it’s all relevant. I think it’s Yes. And but just I want to know, I saw you nodding your head. Furious? Yes. To the second part.


Unknown Speaker  41:07  

Yes. I mean, we’ve all been on dates with the men who talk about themselves for three hours. And when one of my tennis pals just had one of these dates and spent the entire dinner, talking about himself, she would leave pauses so that he could ask her questions. He didn’t take the bait. And, you know, I think when it comes to chatting on a dating app, when she when this listener asks the question, you know, like, why does this keep happening? She seems to think that the problem is her, that is not true, the problem is them. And if if a conversation if a guy if anyone you’re talking to will let the conversation fizzle out, that means there’s not enough interest there. And that if you were to meet, you’d have to do more of the work. And I see that as, as Michael put it as a red flag, and like a thank you for proving to me that you’re not worth my time and moving on. Because the truth is, if there’s interest, there will be conversation. And even if Michael, as you say, they’re not the kind of conversationalist to ask necessarily thoughtful questions, you still keep the conversation alive, if you want to keep that person in your world. And so I say Good riddance.


Unknown Speaker  42:25  

Yeah, I, you know, I feel like I’m really kind of coming firmly around to that, which is the, you know, asking how are you just that that is so easy to like, come on, dude. Like, let let, I don’t know, let’s do the bare minimum here. At least come on?


Damona  42:39  

Yeah, well, here, I would say I look at all of these elements of dating as learned skills. And I think overall, we’ve grown pretty bad at communicating. And particularly, like, when I started coaching, I would say, texting or messaging is for information, not conversation, you’ve got to get someone to the next phase, a phone call to FaceTime, the date. But I’ve had to over the last, say 10 years incorporate texting training into my courses, because I realized that people like just didn’t even really know test text to kit, you know what to actually say, to move the conversation along. So that actually dive dives into our second question. This next question comes to us in a voice memo from one of the listeners who is in my patreon Friends with Benefits group.


Unknown Speaker  43:29  

Hi, guys, I’m Chris. And my question is, what are some good opening lines to use on dating apps?


Damona  43:38  

You know, there’s a lot of competition on the apps, and he wants to make an a good impression on the women that he’s matching with, who has a good line for him a good way for him to start the conversation? Jess,


Unknown Speaker  43:50  

I will raise my hand here. Um, I feel like this is actually a good connection back to the last question, which is the I really think the best thing you can say is, is not a comment, but a question and a question about something you saw on their profile. So you know, obviously every dating app surfaces different information, but um, but find something there that interests you, and ask a question about it. That’s it’s, it’s respectful. It’s a way to get some interesting information that actually means something to and about that person. And that is how I would recommend starting. That’s great.


Unknown Speaker  44:33  

So just so it’s interesting, you say that I hope this doesn’t sound too promotional for Esquire magazine. But in this same issue, we have a profile of the most active guy on Tinder. So this is the guy this is a guy who basically has the most matches and is out there the most based on the data that Tinder has. And there’s actually advice from him in there as well. And one of the first points that he makes is to begin at Asking questions based on stuff that you see in the profile of somebody’s profile. So I think that that, you know, the reporting backs that up just let’s put it that way.


Unknown Speaker  45:08  

I love excellent fact checked, love it


Damona  45:11  

fact checked, and I will cosign on that because my listeners know that my formula is a comment plus a question. That’s the simple formula. So that’s initially what I have told Christopher, or to just dive in with a question. I like to do like a little this or that game, because everybody has an opinion on like, I don’t know, chocolate chip or rocky road or morning person or night person. And then you’re jumpstarted into the conversation. But yeah, you got to follow up with the questions like don’t just ask one. Yes.


Unknown Speaker  45:43  

Yeah. Two more questions. The


Damona  45:44  

last one. Okay. One last question. This came to us in an email from a listener we will call l. l says, I hate the dating apps. Don’t give me a great sense of who people are. And I’m really tired of meeting people through the apps, as things are opening up pandemic, parent medical, I’d love to know how I can meet people right now offline. Great things. Are things really opening up. Is this possible?


Unknown Speaker  46:14  

Yeah. So she asked him like, right now, I’m on April 5, or kind of post pandemic, whenever that is whatever that means right


Damona  46:22  

now. I mean, look, I’m in California, things are still super lockdown. You all are in the New York, New Jersey area. Other places where our listeners are, like, there are no masks and things are partying. So I would just assume that we are are in a post pandemic world in some places, where can you not make sense,


Unknown Speaker  46:46  

the mask, the mask really does make it hard to meet people in person, because you just have no idea, you know who you’re talking to. But I have a piece of advice here, which is maybe gonna sound a little bit woowoo. But it’s basically that when you’re going about your daily life, and you are going to a place a physical place that is related to your interests. If you’re an avid reader, and you’re going to a bookstore, if you are a dancer, and you’re going to the dance studio, if you’re a golfer and you’re going to the course pay, you should sort of actively wake yourself up in those environments, specifically to the people who around you. Because that’s a great place to find someone who already shares an interest with you, and then you’re off and running from there. And it’s also a way to weed out, you know, the bar scene can turn up a certain kind of interaction and the party scene can do the same. And I find that this is just a really nice way to meet someone who’s on your level and to and bonus, who you can already sort of make a great first date plan with.


Damona  48:04  

That’s genius. That’s genius. You got to connect with people where you already are and what you already love doing. Any additional thoughts, Michael?


Unknown Speaker  48:12  

One, I think one good note that, you know, whether it’s right now, or kind of post pandemic, that is something that I’m feeling I’ve observed and so on. So the other weekend, I went into so for listeners, where who live places that are already open up, this is gonna sound probably really pathetic to them. But I walked into inside a bar in New York City for the first time in a year. And the reason I walked inside was to use the bathroom. There’s nothing like I wasn’t you know, I unfortunately wasn’t gonna like saddle up to the bar or anything like that. And there were people that were sitting at tables and everything like that, and I fucking loved this. So I could have laid down on the floor of the bar and just been like, I’m not moving. I’m not really


Damona  48:57  

shouldn’t lay down on the floor of any No, I


Unknown Speaker  48:59  

was fine with that. I would have I would have absolutely would have soaked it all up. Just whatever happened happened. Um, but I think the thing that whether is that situation which I observed or and others is that the people who are out and whether they’re doing it responsibly because they’ve been vaccinated or water, whether they’re just throwing caution in the wind are so eager for connection, that right now I feel like it’s probably the most fertile time to meet people because it’s like, whatever. I’ll talk to anybody. You know, I’ve been talking to the same three people for the last year. So like, give me some conversation. I’ll talk to anybody. So again, whether it’s a you know, a bar might turn up the wrong kind of person. You’re right. Yes. So maybe it is a bookstore or golf course or whatever. But like, people are ready to talk and they’re ready to hang out and they’re ready to, you know, to get to know other people.


Damona  49:49  

That’s great. And, honestly, even if it doesn’t end up in lifelong romance, I think it’s good to just get back out there and start practicing talking to people because we’ve spent the last Last year was our heads down and our mask on like, Don’t look at me Don’t, don’t, don’t breathe air, my direction. And like I said earlier, it’s these are a set of learn skills and the more we practice them, the better we will become at them. So thank you so much for sharing your insights. And there’s amazing survey, I highly encourage everyone to subscribe to the magazines, you can get like, I get my Cosmo on my door every month, and I get to read it cover to cover, Esquire. We love that amazing, amazing men’s magazine. But I mean, ladies, you can learn something from reading Esquire, too. So y’all check it out. And we’ll put the links in the show notes. Thank you both so much for being here. Thank you, this


Unknown Speaker  50:42  

is a blast.


Unknown Speaker  50:43  

Yeah, this was so much fun.


Damona  50:44  

We will put the links to both the Esquire and Cosmo articles, and you should read them both. There’s different data that they chose to highlight. And both articles are fascinating. While you’re at it, why not subscribe to the magazines, I get Cosmo delivered to my door. And Esquire is also a fabulous magazine for men. But hey, ladies, you can read the men’s magazine, and you can know what the guys are thinking. And guys, you should get Cosmo and let’s switch it up a little bit, and learn more and experience more and get these magazines. So if you really want a deeper understanding of human behavior, why not subscribe to both? I hope you enjoyed Episode 356 of dates and mates, you can check out the episode recap at dates and mates.com Do you have a question about your love life but maybe you’re a little nervous to ask it on the show? Don’t worry, I got you. All you need to do is join my patreon Friends with Benefits club. There I do a weekly live stream with all of my other friends with benefits. You can ask your question there, get live feedback right there in that private supportive group. Plus, you’ll get exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else. With all of the material that I’ve done to help you in dating and relationships. You can join the club@patreon.com slash dates and mates for just five bucks a month. I will be back again next week with Caroline Stanbury. You may know her from Bravo TVs ladies of London. She’s also the host of the divorced, not dead podcast, and she’ll be talking about how she fell in love with a much younger man and moved on after her very public divorce. And even if you haven’t had that experience, it’s definitely an episode that you’re going to want to listen into. Until next week, I wish you happy dating

New Future of Dating & The Hottest Date


This is the 350th episode of Dates & Mates!!! What better way to celebrate the past than to look to the future?

With a lot up in the air around us, the future of dating appears a little uncertain. Across the board, dating coaches are seeing mixed results and a lot of confusion around the new timelines in dating.


So today we’re getting clear on what’s in store for love this year. Damona welcomes two of our very favorite love coaches – Jonathan Aslay and Francesca Hogi.

Francesca Hogi is a love and life coach for extraordinary people who happen to be single. She’s really big on teaching people to ditch the fairytale and to find unique opportunities to find love. She’s been on the Today Show, she was a 2 time contestant on Survivor and now she’s pretty much the Queen of the Clubhouse App

Jonathon Aslay is America’s Leading Mid-Life Dating and Relationship Coach. Jonathon has taught hundreds of his client’s “purposeful dating” using his proven coaching methods. He’s authored many books on love and self-love, he’s been on NBC, ABC, CBS, and more plus he’s slaying the game on Youtube.

And you KNOW we needed to hear their takes on the week’s headlines:



(6:30) The new ‘Minister of Loneliness’

Insider reports that Japan appoints a new ‘Minister of Loneliness’ after the country’s suicide rates increase – especially amongst women. While they don’t see the American government appointing an official like this any time in the near future, Damona, Francesca and Jonathon all agree that something needs to be done about the collective loneliness the world is seeing right now.


(11:00) The hottest day for dating

Things are looking up in the UK! Boris Johnson has announced that he plans for every adult in the UK to receive the COVID vaccine by July 31st. Even more exciting, OkCupid predicts that August 1st will be the hottest day for dating. Damona, Jonathon, and Francesca discuss.



Damona, Jonathon, and Francesca have lots of thoughts on the current state of affairs plus the future of love:

(15:30) Can a real connection thrive right now? Jonathon’s tips to avoid ‘false familiarity’

(21:00) Why this has been a good year for relationships: Franny sees a shift toward more dating profile honesty and getting better at prioritising real relationships

(22:40) The emergence of the “New Dawn Dater”: Look out world, Bumble predicts an incoming wave of pandemic breakups which means more relationship-minded singles ready to mingle

(23:36) The power of intentional communication in dating

(25:00) How to make dating obstacles irrelevant

(28:45) Bumble prediction: people may be more inclined to date locally because we have all become more familiar with our local communities. Franny disagrees

(30:45) Lead with practicality in dating today

(38:07) Are men too visual and physical to fall in love online?



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DEAR DAMONA (*and Jonathon and Franny) (40:28)

Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • Julie W: I’ve been in a relationship for 1.5 years. In January I had to report back into school but my classes were still online. I go to school daily, sit in a room by myself, and come back home. My Girlfriend moved out in January because she was worried about her health. I’m so hurt and sad about it because I feel like I supported her through multiple back injuries and surgeries, in “sickness and health” and she isn’t supporting me with my career knowing I can’t change the fact that I have to report in. I think this is a huge red flag for our relationship as she will only see me now outside and we live in Chicago, it’s freezing outside. Do you think I’m hurt for the right reasons? I know health is important but this to me is not ok. I don’t know any other teachers who are going through something like this.
  • Jessica: What are your thoughts on the chances of meeting someone not using any apps? But then I wonder how in the heck do I meet quality men in these weird Covid times? I’m a 35yr old female that would like a committed, healthy long term relationship. I was married previously and have been divorced for almost 9 yrs. I noticed with dating I am having trouble meeting men that truly know who they are and what they want. With online dating many guys just wanted a text buddy, or I was just not attracted to anyone. I did go on some dates with a few guys over that few months, but cant help feeling like dating apps just aren’t for me. I’d love to know your thoughts on this.



Find Francesca on Instagram @DearFranny, she also runs a podcast by the same name! Be sure to follow her on Clubhouse – she hosts some of the best rooms on dating and love today.

Find Jonathon’s podcast, “What Would Love Do?” at jonathonaslay.com. Make sure to subscribe to his rapidly growing YouTube channel where he gives tons of weekly advice!



The app solves many major challenges that Damona’s clients face in dating today:

  • You can keep your main number private
  • You can separate your personal and dating contacts
  • Plus, It’s easy to use and FREE.

We are proud to collaborate with an app that empowers modern daters to feel safe and secure. If you want more information, check out Damona’s video on when to give out your number to people you meet on dating apps. Click here!



Download OkCupid today!

OkCupid is FAMOUS for matching people on what MATTERS MOST to them, from food to the type of relationship they want…to politics. They ask you really thoughtful and provoking questions to get to the heart of who you are and what type of person you’re looking for.

Are you missing out? Download OkCupid today!



Are you on the right dating app for your dating style? Find out with Damona’s quiz quiz.damonahoffman.com



NYT: 4 Ways to Ring in the New Year at Home

Few will miss saying goodbye to 2020, though most people will be celebrating the start of a new, and hopefully, a better year in a more subdued way because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Your homebound New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day can still be romantic, nostalgic, and filled with traditions — old and new. Here are four creative and unexpectedly connective options to consider as you rethink your 2021 corona countdown.

Read the article here to check out Damona’s tips!